Durability of function
In addition to outlawing fluorine-based textile finishes for water, oil and stain repellent textiles, the new version of the standard tightens up durability criteria across a range of treatments. To be labelled with the Eco-flower, water repellents shall retain a functionality of 80 out of 90 after 20 domestic wash and tumble dry cycles at 40°C, or after 10 industrial washing and drying cycles at a minimum of 75°C.
Oil repellents shall retain a functionality of 3.5 out of 4.0 after 20 domestic wash and tumble dry cycles at 40°C, or after 10 industrial washing and drying cycles at a minimum of 75°C. Stain repellents shall retain a functionality of 3.0 out of 5.0 after 20 domestic wash and tumble dry cycles at 40°C, or after 10 industrial washing and drying cycles at a minimum of 75°C.
Industrial washing temperatures may be reduced to 60°C for garments with taped seams.
Going further than existing EU legislation, including the updated biocides Directive which came into force in September 2013, labelled textiles shall not have biocides be incorporated into fibres, fabrics or the final product in order to impart antimicrobial properties. This applies to common treatments including triclosan, nano-silver, zinc organic compounds, tin organic compounds, dichlorophenyl (ester) compounds, benzimidazol derivatives and isothiazolinones.
Perhaps the biggest and most ambitious change to this well-known standard is the introduction for the first time of a dedicated restricted substance list. Given that it covers all aspects of textile production from fibre and yarn spinning through to the final product, it is too large to include within these pages.
Existing holders of the EU Eco-Label have a transitional period to adapt their textile products to comply with the revised criteria. The criteria are valid until 4th June 2018.
The European Union Ecolabelling Board (EUEB) is made up of the competent bodies from each Member State, and interested parties form the consultation forum.
The European Commission manages the scheme at EU level to ensure correct implementation of the Ecolabel regulation.
The Regulatory Committee consists of governmental experts from the Member States. After the criteria are finalised, they are voted upon by the Regulatory Committee. The Commission cannot adopt criteria before voting takes place in the Ecolabel Regulatory Committee by a qualified majority.
The EU Ecolabel textile products user manual, includes label application information, the aims of the criteria, product declarations and checklists.
Potential Ecolabel applicants should contact their national Competent Body, which is available for technical support throughout the application process.
Declarations, documents, data sheets and test results may be necessary to prove compliance with the EU Ecolabel criteria.
The application should be submitted online using the Ecat_admin tool, and the complete dossier should be sent by post to the relevant Competent Body to be assessed.